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Phi Kappa Psi at W & J

The Alpha Chapter

On February 19, 1852, two students at Jefferson College, Charles Page Thomas Moore and William Henry Letterman, founded the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Their founding ideals have become traditionalized through numerous chapters prominent throughout the United States. These ideals encompass the willingness to help others and manifest loyalty to oneself and one's brothers. The alpha (first) chapter has survived on Washington and Jefferson's campus since Washington College and Jefferson College merged in 1865. In fact, the chapter was recently rewarded a newly constructed fraternity house on East Chestnut Street. This facility will house the brothers for years to come and will allow them to continue to perpetuate their positive impact on the surrounding community. 

With 26 active members, the chapter continues to uphold the fraternity's founding traditions. The chapter remains an intricate part of Washington and Jefferson's Greek community and participates in many philanthropic events within the city of Washington. They also enjoy the activities greek life has to offer. Particularly, homecoming is a special time for the brothers of Phi Kappa Psi. The brothers of Phi Kappa Psi always construct a homecoming float and participate in the homecoming parade. Annual festivities include a tailgate cookout and post game party at the fraternity house. Many alumni return each year to share the fun with all the brothers.

Another favorite alumni event occurs every Febuary---the Founder's Day Celebration. This event, annually held at Pittsburgh's Duquesne Club, attracts brothers from all over Pennsylvania and surrounding states. The embracing tradtion gives brothers young and old an opportunity to share stories over drinks and a delicious dinner. Students from WVU, Allegheny College, Bucknell, and many other colleges, along with their alumni and other Phi Psi's nation wide, anticipate the annual celebration.

Does a free spring break sound too good to be true? Alumnus Jerry Nelson offers undergraduate brothers an opportunity to vacation on the beaches of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Hundreds of brothers nationwide enjoy a relaxing stay at Jerry Nelson's house, attend leadership workshops, and hear from famous guest speakers each spring. Recently, brothers from Washington and Jefferson's chapter attended the weeklong getaway.  All brothers that do attend return with everlasting memories and skills that will enrich their lives. As if that weren't enough, the trip is nearly free. Except for airfare, Jerry Nelson covers all expenses---housing, food, drinks, and transportation.

Phi Kappa Psi also participates in many philanthropic events that contribute to the growth of Washington. Recently, the brothers volunteered their time at Habitat for Humanity. Some also participated in "Sweet Sunday"---a charitable event benefiting the homeless.  Furthermore, the chapter hosts many campus events, such as hoagie sales and ticket raffles to raise money for local charities.  The fraternity was founded on the belief of helping others, so it important to keep this and all fraternity traditions alive.


Keeping the Important Traditions Alive


The birth of Phi Kappa Psi arose in 1852 when its founders spent numerous nights caring for sick friends during a treacherous outbreak of disease. The services they performed for their friends motivated its founders to develope an organization that would uphold such compassion, care, and dedication. These qualitites have since been the basis for every chapter that has been established.

The brothers of Washington and Jefferson's Phi Kappa Psi Alpha Chapter enjoy strengthening their brotherhood and upholding their founding traditions by participating in philanthropic activities such as Habitat for Humanity. The brothers has found that volunteering their time can be fun and rewarding.  

On the afternoon of September 22, 2007, the brothers volunteered their services at Washington's Habitat for Humanity. On their arrival, they were presented with the daunting task that lay before them. Though they realized they were in for a long day, they were not aware of the memories that would reward their hard work.  They spent the day loading tile, wood, carpet, and other contracting supplies donated from contributing organizations and then transporting them to Washington's Habitat for Humanity center.  The numerous truckloads made for a long day, but before they knew it, the brothers had finished. Now that the work is done, all that remains is the memories of laughter and brotherhood, not to mention their contribution to the community.   

Many brothers recognize that volunteering isn't limited to a chapter event. These brothers understand the importance of volunteering and have come to enjoy participating in philanthopic activities in the community. Seniors Justin Beckman, Mike Guthrie, and Matthew Schiavone volunteered at "Sweet Sunday." The annual event raises money to support the homeless and those faced with poverty. Also, brothers Mike Frank, Pete Elers, Andrew Rose, and Pat Wilson volunteered at the Special Olympics held here at Washington and Jefferson.

The brothers look to expand and enhance their philanthropic contributions in the upcoming year. Such ideas and events continue to be the topic of discussion at their weekly chapter meetings.

Interview with the President

Ryan Borchik--President of W & J's chapter

 Brotherhood, the fratenity secrets, philanthropies, the social life?all reasons I devote myself and my services to the fraternal order of Phi Kappa Psi. The realization of these characteristics fueled my desire to become a brother, and upon initiation, those desires were fullfilled. Recently, many outsiders have become oblivious to the desirable characteristics of our fraternitiy. Also, there are many important aspects to the fraternity that independents fail to realize. Or maybe their whole perception of the fraternity is skewed. Anyhow, as newly elected president, I plan to instill these characteristics into every perception of Phi Kappa Psi. Hopfully these characteristics will prompt many individuals to seek our brotherhood. Of course, we must actually perform accordingly if we wish to portray such an image, and we will.    

I am very excited as newly elected president. Particularly, the move to the new house has motivated my brothers and me to participate in more philanthropic work.  Many motives have prompted our participation in such activities; I already have contacted many new organizations and scheduled events for the fraternity in my first few weeks as president. Actually, it is our future plan to adopt a highway. Whatever we do,  the concept is that we continue to give back to the community. That is why we exist. Phi Psi was founded on brotherhood, compassion, and care for others, so it is our job to uphold the traditions we have been founded on. 

As always, this spring we will accept a new pledge class into our fraternity. Though our house is small, there is no set limit on the number of pledges we will educate and welcome into our brotherhood. The brothers and I welcome everyone to our house and look forward to meeting new faces.

Joining the Brotherhood

In the 2008 spring sememster, Phi Kappa Psi looks to expand their chapter with a spring pledge class. Any interested candidate is urged to attend the rush week activities provided by the brothers. To further express interest or for more information,  contact the Phi Kappa Psi president, Ryan Borchick at Or, just stop by the house!